Roasted Beet Salad with Blood Orange Caramelized Balsamic Dressing

Most beet recipes begin with the adage about “no one liking beets because they have only tried the canned variety so you should roast them instead [sic].” If you roast beets in the oven they are superior in taste and texture to canned, but they still taste like beets. So, if you absolutely cannot stand beets then leave them out entirely and eat the salad as is or with the addition of a different fruit or vegetable (I think a really crisp sliced apple would be a satisfying substitute.) Personally, I find that the most important component of this salad is the dressing; a combination of caramelized sugar, balsamic vinegar, and blood orange juice. This dressing is based off of the Caramelized Balsamic Vinegar Dressing recipe in Didi Emmons’ Vegetarian Planet, an invaluable vegetarian cookbook that I would especially recommend if you like Asian noodle and rice dishes – there are large chapters on both. Blood orange juice is the citrus of choice for this recipe, the rose madder pulp has the faintest hint of fresh raspberries which pairs exquisitely with the balsamic vinegar.  This dressing will keep for up to a month in the fridge and can be used on almost any salad and is particularly delicious when used as a glaze for roasted winter vegetables.

for the roasted beet salad:

3 cups of spinach, washed and dried

2 medium-large beets

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 of a  red onion, cut into thin half-moons

1/2 of a cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 cup of crumbled chèvre

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the beets with a brush and place each one in the centre of an aluminum foil square. Pour a tablespoon of oil over each beet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the beets up like a bundle and roast for 1 hour. After the beets have cooled rub their skins of with your fingers under running water, they should slip right off and you won’t get your hands covered in magenta beet juice. Slice in half and then into half-moons.

2. Place the red onions in a bowl and cover with water, allow to sit for at least a half an hour (this will take some of the bite out of them.)

3. Arrange the remaining ingredients attractively on 2 plates, scattering the beets across the top of each salad. Complete the salad by drizzling the dressing over each serving, taking care not to oversaturate the salad with excess dressing.)

for the blood orange caramelized balsamic dressing:

1 cup of white granulated sugar

1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup of olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 blood orange, juiced

1. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and water together. Set aside.

2. Dissolve the sugar in 1/4 cup of the water over medium-high heat in a medium sized saucepan. Let the liquid simmer until it has turned an amber honey colour, being careful not to stir in order to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Take off of the heat immediately to prevent burning. Very carefully, being mindful of splatters, pour the oil, vinegar, and orange juice mixture into the dressing in a very thin stream, whisking constantly. Cool to room temperature and then use on this salad or any other. This can be kept for up to a month in the refrigerator; it will thicken as it cools so allow it to come back to room temperature before using it.

You know how there are some songs that can only be truly appreciated at a very high volume? There is something that really resounds with me physically when I hear this song, it feels like this song vibrates more than other music. Listen to this song either really loudly in your kitchen or really loudly on headphones in the kitchen; the harpsichord has never been so good.

The Books – That Right Ain’t Shit

One thought on “Roasted Beet Salad with Blood Orange Caramelized Balsamic Dressing

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